Tuesday September 25th was National Voter Registration Day. The Balls&Chain (which is what I lovingly call my fiancé because the word fiancé sounds like a part of a French dance costume not the man who will be my partner for the Zombie Apocalypse) and I volunteered at the Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Queens registering people to vote.
I’m incredibly passionate about voting in political elections. I feel a huge sense of excitement, hope and like I am taking part in a great and historic tradition.
This does not mean that I am blind to the problems we face as a nation and to the shortcomings in our system.
However it does mean that I recognize how incredibly fortunate I am to have been born in a country where, amongst the myriad of things I am grateful for, I can make my living as a stand up comic; I have the amazing opportunity to voice my opinions (and dick jokes) loudly and pursue a career in the arts. (I feel like I’m getting to live the lyrics to “Wherever I May Roam” by Metallica: I’m free to speak my mind anywhere/And I’ll redefine anywhere!)
There are many many things I am truly thankful for and love about this country. And it is because of this passion and appreciation that I want so much for us to recognize our full potential, right past wrongs and be as great as I know we can be. I may sound like Faith Hill on Football Sunday but I happen to love that lady and think she is a national treasure so get off my proverbial sac o’ enthusiasm! (That was perhaps a tad defensive, I do tend to get all riled up, which I am not apologizing for because I’m working with my therapist on not apologizing for things when I am just being honest.)
The event at Roosevelt (for National Voter Registration Day) was not affiliated with any political party so I refrained from evangelizing people with my personal beliefs. (Even though obviously – and humbly – mine are the RIGHT and JUST political opinions to have and I will definitely be finding other times and places to do so – ONLY CHILD – did I just trip over my SOAP BOX?!)
Oddly, I would rather someone vote against the person/persons I am voting for rather than not vote at all. This, in the grand scheme of election results, doesn’t really make any sense but I think it comes from a huge hope that we will all care what happens to us. I know it is not for me to decide what people care about but what did I get into comedy for anyway – to let people know what I think they should care about by talking about what I care about (and then I ever so subtly try to spoon full of sugar it down with a teabagging reference – the nuts – not the wingnuts).
I have a huge hope that amongst the name calling and political spinning people want what is fair and will take the time to research and read about the issues; even if their opinions on what is fair are different than mine. That is after all one of the things I love most about this country. I think Voltaire said it best, ”I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I would hope though that some fact checking was involved (there is that fracking soap box again) in constructing opinions about what is fair.
It’s frustrating when people complain about the system but then when given the opportunity to voice their opinions do nothing about it. “Leah, elections are rigged, the two party system is complete bullshit. Who cares. BTW did you see the Kardashians last night?! Oh and my fantasy football team is rocking.” Vote or waive your right to complain about the govt!
I believe reading up on the issues and seeing who is doing what about those issues, writing letters, signing petitions, making videos, writing jokes, hosting events, etc. does make a difference. Even when it feels like the political machine just grinds on without us, we still need to show up and cast our votes. People died for this right and a lot of people in the world don’t have it. (I hate to sound pedantic but I’m just on such a preachy roll at this point why stop now?!)
I was incredibly excited about volunteering with the Balls&Chain because it felt like a hot date. I don’t know when my idea of romance switched so drastically from images aroused by Journey songs to getting hot about participating in life errands together. (This would include the time when we had to make an emergency trip to the vet with our guinea pig Tupac – so I assume this new found feeling about the essence of romance has everything to do with a shared experience of ‘responsibilities’ - although I would have vehemently told you I was against that notion a few years ago and certainly never would have guessed it was an aphrodisiac – do people still even use that word?!) But when the BallsAndChain and I got a coffee and walked to vote in the primaries together last week I felt like I was being taken to the fanciest ball in town.
Register to vote, volunteer to help other people sign up and get to the polls on election day. It is an incredibly arousing experience.